How to Restore Missing iPhoto Image Thumbnails

Using iPhoto to manage the photos from your iPhone, iPad, and digital camera is fine unless the thumbnails showing you previews of your snapshots disappear. Keeping track of your pics when you can't actually see them isn't very productive, but there is a fix for that. Read on to learn how to resurrect your missing iPhoto image thumbnails.

Missing image thumbnails makes iPhoto pretty hard to useMissing image thumbnails makes iPhoto pretty hard to use

Before bringing back your missing image thumbnails be sure to quit iPhoto. Once you've done that, we're ready to start. Here's what to do:

  • Launch iPhoto by double-clicking the app icon while holding down the Command and Option keys at the same time.
  • iPhoto should launch, but stop at the Photo Library First Aid screen. Click Rebuild Thumbnails.
  • Click Rebuild.

Use iPhoto's hidden First Aid feature to restore lost image thumbnailsUse iPhoto's hidden First Aid feature to restore lost image thumbnails

This may take a while depending on how big your iPhoto library is. Once it's done, your image thumbnails should be back and ready for your viewing pleasure. If some of your photo thumbnails are still missing try quitting iPhoto, then use the Command-Option launch trick again, but this time choose Repair Database.

iPhoto, with thumbnail images restored.iPhoto, with thumbnail images restored

Lots of Mac users have a love/hate relationship with iPhoto because it offers some great features, but also has some annoying bugs, too. Apple plans to replace iPhoto some time this year with a new Photos app, so maybe we'll see some improvements when that happens.